Endorsements in District 13A

August 17, 1994

In the race for the state Senate seat in District 13, Democrats have a choice between two distinct political personalities. Incumbent Sen. Thomas Yeager, with 12 years of legislative experience, is a solid, steady-as-you go veteran. He is opposed by Del. Virginia M. Thomas, who has served an equal number of years in the House of Delegates, and is known to emphasize community service. On the whole, we believe Mr. Yeager would be the better nominee.

This senatorial district, which covers southern Howard County from Highland to Jessup as well as eastern Columbia and part of northern Prince George's, is the most politically and geographically diverse in the county. Representing these various factions, including the sometimes competing interests of rural and urban residents, is a wrenching task. Mr. Yeager, a level-headed consensus builder, has done well in this regard and deserves to be returned to the Senate.

Ms. Thomas, meanwhile, merits credit for her activism in Annapolis, but her approach has sometimes left her at odds even with colleagues in her own party. Her primary offense is grandstanding, which she displayed earlier this year by prematurely taking credit for securing school construction money that had not been allotted.

In the race for two seats to the House of Delegates from District 13A, nine candidates are on the ballot. Best known among the Democrats is Howard County Councilwoman Shane Pendergrass, who is running an aggressive campaign after eight years on the council. Like Ms. Thomas, Ms. Pendergrass' style hasn't played well with her legislative colleagues. Also, her early and vehement opposition to a Coca-Cola bottling plant in her district indicated a lack of appreciation for the economic well-being of the region and state.

For these reasons, we are suggesting that Democrats cast their votes for Frank S. Turner, an assistant Morgan State University professor and former deputy campaign manager for U.S. Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski, and Wanda Hurt, a long-time activist in local Democratic affairs.

Among the Republicans, computer software company founder Michael Grasso, who is active in his party, is by far the best candidate. Kenneth Miller also merits consideration.

Tomorrow: Legislative District 12B.

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